piggy bank - How to Pay for a Funeral

How to Pay for a Funeral

Funerals come in many different forms, but one thing is for sure; they can be a pretty expensive undertaking. Of course, your financial responsibility when organising a funeral will largely depend on whether or not the death was expected or planned for. Even when this is the case, however, planning the most cost-effective way of saying goodbye to your loved one is going to involve some of the most important decisions you’re likely to make.

With the average funeral in the UK costing around £4,300, it’s important to know what options are available to you, so you can be as prepared as possible if and when you should be tasked with contributing financially.

Pre-Paid Funeral Plans

Prepaid funeral plans are one of the most steadily growing methods of paying for a funeral in the UK. Naturally, these schemes are largely marketed targeting the over 50s, though some companies will provide funeral plans for those younger than 50. There are plenty of reasons why someone might wish to plan ahead, especially if they have come into a large sum of money and wish to protect their families financially should anything happen to them.

However, on the whole, prepaid funeral plans are intended to be paid for in advance over a relatively short period of time by those that would not usually be able to afford or have access to a life insurance policy. For those considerably shy of the over 50s age bracket, it may be more advisable to look into a life insurance policy that will protect you financially should an unexpected death occur. 

Harold Wood Funeral Services provides prepaid funeral plans through Golden Charter, one of the UK’s largest funeral plan providers. Because they only represent local, family-run funeral directors, you can rest assured that your final wishes and your funeral plans are in the safest hands possible. 

Funeral Packages

Funeral packages can help reduce costs and make things simpler for families who find themselves planning a funeral. No matter how simple you want to keep your funeral plans, it remains likely that you will need to pay for more multiple things throughout the funeral planning process. Unfortunately, funeral packages are not usually payable in advance of someone’s death the same way that prepaid funeral plans are. By choosing the right funeral directors, however, you can rest in peace; assured that you are receiving the best possible service for your needs and financial situation. 

For those wanting to bid their loved ones farewell, but who do not have the means for a more traditional or extravagant funeral, unattended funeral packages are becoming increasingly popular and many funeral directors will offer them as a basic funeral package.

However, it is important to remember that funeral packages are often marketed at a guide price. Even the simplest of funerals can come with hidden and third-party costs, whether these turn out to be based on location or come in the form of extra charges related to the kind of service you want. 

It is for these reasons that, at Harold Wood, we offer our funeral packages as example prices and prefer to offer you a personalised quote on the basis of a one-to-one conversation. That way, not only do you know you are getting the best possible price, but you are also only paying for the services that your loved one would have wanted. 

Support Schemes 

If you are on low income, you may be eligible to apply for Funeral Payment; a government scheme designed for people who are receiving certain benefits to help them pay for a funeral. 

Unfortunately, due to the rising cost of funerals, it is entirely possible that you or someone you know may not be in a position to afford any kind of funeral for their loved ones. If you are the spouse, a close relative or friend of the deceased, and you meet the list of qualifying benefits, you might be able to claim up to £700 for funeral expenses. 

While a support scheme  will not cover the cost of even most unattended funerals, a Funeral Plan can be used to cover a variety of funeral costs including burial or cremation fees, travel to the funeral location, documentation and admin fees, or even the cost of transporting the body to another part of the UK if necessary.

Alternatively, for those who have recently lost a spouse or civil partner, you might be eligible for Bereavement Support Payment. This is a scheme which supports bereaved and grieving spouses or partners, not just for the funeral planning process itself, but in the period following their death. Should you be accepted, you may fall into two different price brackets depending on whether or not you and your spouse have a living child at the time of your partner’s death. This may be a preferable method for those seeking more long-term financial support as opposed to a one-off government grant like Funeral Plan. 

Help From Your Loved One

If you wish to finance your loved one’s funeral using their own funds and you are not the executor or administrator of their estate, you will need to have the right documentation in place. This is because banks will usually freeze the accounts of someone that has passed as soon as they are informed of their death. 

It may be that your loved one left some money behind to cover their funeral expenses but did not, for whatever reason, take out a funeral plan.

In order to gain access to your loved one’s funds you will at least need a copy of their death certificate as well as an invoice for potential funeral costs. Some banks may also request your proof of identity and this should match with the name on the funeral invoice. 

For those paying for a loved one’s funeral that they hold a joint bank account with, it is not necessary to provide this information and you will simply be able to access your loved one’s funds as usual. For some people, this may be a simpler and more flexible solution, as, unlike a funeral plan, you are not limited to the funeral director with which the funeral plan was taken out. If you already have easy access to the funds you need, it could be a more straightforward process for you and your family. 


We are a family-led business offering funeral services in Essex since 1958.

Please contact us at any of our four funeral homes, Harold HillHainaultHarold WoodCollier Row, for any queries, support or advice regarding the funeral planning process.

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